Fellows Visit Vienna's Houses of Worship
More than 70 grassroots peacebuilders from around the world convened at KAICIID from 24 November to 4 December for dialogue trainings, programme evaluation and the graduation of the 2016 class of the KAICIID Fellows Programme. These peacebuilders, the KAICIID Fellows, come from many walks of life, religious traditions and countries, but have one thing in common – their dedication to fostering a culture of peace and respect through interreligious dialogue. The Fellows are active, passionate peacemakers who have tremendously interesting histories and lives and are on the forefront of promoting dialogue and fostering peace and social cohesion in their communities. Through the programme, they have completed extensive dialogue training and peacebuilding projects in their own communities with the support and guidance of KAICIID.
During their visit, the Fellows visited Houses of Worship in Vienna, including a the Christ Church, the Vienna Islamic Centre and the Jewish Museum where the Fellows had the opportunity to interact with local religious leaders and the public.
The director of the Vienna Islamic Centre introduces the Fellows to the story of the Centre and the life of Muslims in Austria. During the introduction and the meal, the Fellows dialogued with members of the community.
The Fellows look on as they receive a presentation from the Centre’s Imam on the tenants and structure of religious worship in a mosque.
The tour led through the first district of Vienna, where the Fellows were able to visit Judenplatz or ‘Jewish Square,’ the old down square of the Jewish district of the city that is now the monument to Austrian Jews who died during the Holocaust.
During the museum tour, Rabbi Hofmeister briefed the Fellows on the history of the city of Vienna and the history of Judaism in the city.
The Fellows also visited the archeologically preserved foundations of the old Viennese synagogue, where the Rabbi answered questions about Jewish worship and the Jewish tradition.
The tour concluded with a visit to Christ Church Vienna where they observed a religious service to commemorate the Advent season.
Brahmachari Jagrat Chaitanya, a Fellow from Sri Lanka reads along in the hymnal with one of the members of the church.
The Fellows had the opportunity to meet the chaplain and discuss their work as Fellows and his work as a Christian leader in Vienna.
The tour ended with an evening of dialogue and exchange with the congregation of the church.